Seven Black Plays

Seven Black Plays

The Theodore Ward Prize for African American Playwriting
Chuck Smith

Awarded annually since 1987, the Theodore Ward Prize recognizes the outstanding individual accomplishments of African American playwrights, as well as their growing importance to the shape and direction of American drama in our time. This collection, edited by a director and educator who has been affiliated with the contest for fifteen of its seventeen years, showcases a selection of the award-winning plays and offers a rich and varied view of the best of two decades of evolving African American drama.

These seven plays, which span the Ward Prize's history, represent a wide range of talents, experience, and perspectives brought to bear on diverse themes, from a unique moment in the history of baseball's Negro League to a working-class couple contending with a neighborhood bully; from a child's memories of negotiating desegregation to coming of age amidst the ravages of racism, child abuse, and AIDS. By turns poetic and moving, brave and rousing, uproarious and unsettling, these works written by established and emerging playwrights allow actors, directors, theatergoers, and readers to sample the multifarious dramatic experience being limned by African American playwrights today.
About the Author
Chuck Smith is a resident director at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where his productions have included The Gift Horse, The Amen Corner, A Raisin in the Sun, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Black Star Line, A Christmas Carol, and The Meeting. Smith is also a faculty member in the Theater Department of Columbia College, Chicago.
Reviews
"All praises to those who worked to bring the publication of Seven Black Plays to fruition. My personal kudos are extended to Columbia College, Paul Carter Harrison and Chuck Smith for nurturing new African American voices in what is and will continue to be of historic imprint. Ted Ward was the master story teller! We shared the vision that one day there would be a vehicle to lift up the young groits; to provide venues for their voices to be heard and to celebrate the richness of the African American experience. As Ted Ward would say with great finality, "that's the whole thing right there."
-Abena Joan P Brown, Co-founder, President & Producer, eta Creative Arts Foundation